Two years ago, the hack to get an investment in your startup was to shout: “We are using the Blockchain!” The Blockchain <a href="https://medium.com/@pavelkravchenko/decline-of-blockchain-hype-and-rise-of-a-common-sense-8de5789a794d" target="_blank">was</a> the magic term that nobody understood, but had the label of “the next big thing”. That is why investors were investing like mad into companies that said they are using it. If only one of those startups hit the jackpot, the investors would become (more) insanely rich.
Two years ago, the hack to get an investment in your startup was to shout: “We are using the Blockchain!” The Blockchain was the magic term that nobody understood, but had the label of “the next big thing”. That is why investors were investing like mad into companies that said they are using it. If only one of those startups hit the jackpot, the investors would become (more) insanely rich.
Now two years later, we see big companies like ING executing pilots with Blockchain as a way to store contracts. Accenture and the United Nations have created a solution that will register the refugees of the world inside of a Blockchain.
I know almost nothing about the Blockchain technology and want to get some feeling about what is going on. For almost three years after the introduction of the Blockchain as a new technology in the bleeding edge tech startups, the registration of people, housing and companies were promised to be open via the Blockchain. But it is still not here. What is this Blockchain and will it really be a revolution?
Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here are a few videos that explain the complex technology in a way everybody can understand. I have selected these videos in such a way that you can watch them one-by-one and have a clear understanding at the end. There is some overlap between the videos but that will help getting a better understanding.
This video by Institute for the Future (IFTF) is Clear, Fast and gives a great insight on what the Blockchain technology is.
A bit dull :) but clear and helps to refine the message of the previous video. It only takes 6 minutes to watch. This video is created by the Dutchchainorganization.
Pretty clear story by PassKit …..
In this video the part of voting in the network takes is explained. Voting is the essential part of the Blockchain that determines the legitimacy of the transactions in the Blockchain.
The definition of “blockchain” on Wikipedia is “a distributed database that is used to maintain a continuously growing list of records called blocks… By design, blockchains are inherently resistant to modification of the data.”
In its core, the database behind blockchain is a ledger containing all transaction records. The ledger is distributed, which means there isn’t a single central point where the records are saved. It provides a transparent way where transactions between two parties are verifiable and are stored permanently. Any transaction of ownership can be stored into the blockchain.
Another great read is this Blockchain for Dummies book, made by IBM. You can read it if you need more background information and better understanding after watching the videos and reading the article mentioned above.
In various videos and articles the Blockchain is summarized with the use of one of the following three set of characteristics (at least).
No consensus on key characteristics
I find this very interesting: In 2009, the Blockchain was implemented for the first time. This technology is still quite new that even on the key characteristics there is no consensus. The big question that pops up is: is this a big hype or just something so complex that not everybody understands it? And if this is only a big hype, why venture capitalists are investing millions in it. And why the United Nations is betting the lives of refugees on it?
Everybody seems to dream about a more peer-to-peer network for registration of valuables. It doesn’t really matter to people what the valuables are, it can be money, houses, documents, or identities. People dream about what would happen when they are not dependent on a governmental or financial organisation. Removing the red tape to increase the speed, reduce the cost of transactions, and create an opening for machine-to-machine transactions are the main ingredients in many Science Fiction stories.
And these dreamers ignore the complex center of the Blockchain technology. They ignore or do not know that it works only given specific rules or balance of rules. This is where I have my worries. For example: a consensus model on which transactions are valid, only works when the network is relatively big, otherwise someone with a big bot farm can take over the network.
And what does a blockchain add when there is no great incentive to create a big network of computers that want to build the blockchain?
What is your vision on Blockchain technology? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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In my previous article, I tried to described the concept of a blockchain with code. This time, I'll try to describe the structure of a single block. I will use the Bitcoin blockchain to explain blocks, but keep in mind that the concepts will remain more or less the same. It could be useful to read my <a href="https://dev.to/damcosset/trying-to-understand-blockchain-by-making-one-ce4" target="_blank">last article</a>to understand a few things first.